A fatal drunk driving accident on March 25 really hit home for Rep. Roger Goodman. An alleged repeat drunk driving offender was involved in a wreck that took the lives of two while detrimentally injuring two others. The tragedy allowed Goodman to point out that while tougher DUI laws are helping curb the number of alcohol related traffic deaths in the state, in his mind, current statutes don't go far enough.
The state legislator has fought hard over the past few years to get tougher sanctions placed on those who drive under the influence, and this is especially true for repeat offenders. One such law is a recent piece of legislation, passed in 2012, that made the possible penalty for alcohol-related vehicular homicide a stint of 20 years behind bars. This is what the aforementioned alleged drunk driver faces if convicted.
Though these laws handle intoxicated drivers after the fact, Goodman is looking for what he sees as a more proactive approach. He's pressing not only for a third DUI in ten years to be considered a felony, but also for laws that would allow random sobriety checkpoints throughout the state. Washington State's Supreme Court has said that a whole new law would need to be passed for these random checkpoints to be legal.
Driving under the influence is considered a serious crime in Washington, and if politicians like Rep. Goodman are successful, the penalties for a DUI conviction will become much more strict. It's important for people to know, however, that a DUI arrest isn't an automatic conviction. Police officers and the devices used for testing DUI are both fallible, so a criminal defense attorney might be able to have DUI charges of any magnitude reduced or dropped altogether.
Source: MYNorthwest.com, "Lawmaker keeps pushing new DUI measures to curb deaths," Josh Kerns, April 2, 2013